MARTIN RILEY insists players and fans have still got a lot to look forward to between now and the end of the season.
Wrexham have got nine games left but are unlikely to be contesting the play-offs while the Reds are almost certain to be safe after climbing away from the drop zone up to 10th position.
In those remaining matches Wrexham face three sides – Forest Green Rovers, Tranmere Rovers and Dagenham and Redbridge – who are challenging for the title, and also come up against relegation threatened York City, managed by ex-Reds’ boss Gary Mills.
“We have still got some big games coming up, especially for the club as a whole and the fans, so we will keep going,” said Riley.
“York is one I am eluding to, Tranmere as well, and Saturday away at Forest Green is going to be a big game.
“I am still looking forward to the final nine games and we just want to finish as high up as possible, keep the momentum going for next year.
“The gaffer and the squad have built something from Christmas onwards so credit to them.
“If we keep the momentum, add a few players in the summer and keep the spine of the team together, we will be looking to press on next year.”
Although Mark Carrington and Leo Smith have penned new deals, and Paul Rutherford has activated a contract extension, all the other members of Dean Keates’ squad are playing for their futures.
Personal pride is at stake in the run-in and Riley is committed to doing as well as possible for Wrexham.
“We are still playing for contracts and we are still playing for the badge,” said Riley.
“We are still playing for Wrexham Football Club which is a massive honour for the lads. To take that lightly is not on.
“We are all playing for contracts so there will be no complacency from myself and I am sure I speak for all the lads when I say that.”
Riley, who rejoined Wrexham for a second spell last summer, would love to extend his stay at The Racecourse.
“I have said before that I am happy to stay,” said Riley. “I haven’t spoken to the gaffer yet so I can’t really comment on what’s going to happen next year.
“But personally I would like to stay.”
Riley has done his chances of winning a new contract no harm following an impressive run in the side.
The centre-back has started the last 14 games and been a consistent performer in the heart of the Wrexham defence alongside Curtis Tilt, although the duo didn’t get the result they wanted on Saturday as the Reds lost 2-0 at home to Gateshead.
“I am just enjoying it and I am loving playing with Tilty,” said Riley. “I think defensively we have been pretty good.
“We succumbed to a very good goal on Saturday and the second one was irrelevant really, we were chasing the game and got caught on the break.
“Defensively we are happy, we have just got to carry on doing what we are doing.”
The loss to Gateshead was just Wrexham’s second defeat in 10 games.
Wrexham bounced back from the other reversal, at home to Aldershot Town last month, by winning successive away matches at Solihull Moors and Braintree Town for the first time this season.
Riley is looking for another positive response at Forest Green on Saturday, although the 30-year-old accepts it will be a tough test for Wrexham against the side who are second in the table and pushing Lincoln City for the title.
“We have had two losses at home now which has been rare for us this season,” said Riley. “We bounced back after the last loss so we are looking to do that on Saturday.
“It is going to be difficult, Forest Green are on fire and they are where they are in the league because they are a good side.
“Our away form hasn’t been great all season but we have got two away wins on the bounce so we are looking forward to it.
“It is another big game for us, another test to see where we are as a squad and as a group.”
- Former Wrexham boss Dean Saunders will be in north Wales on Saturday night.
Ex-Wales international Saunders, who led Wrexham to within touching distance of a Football League return, is at Ewloe Social Club for a sportsman’s evening, held in association with Hawarden Cricket Club.
Tickets are priced at £15 with those interested in attending able to contact either Ian Martin on 07761184422 or Stuart Green on 07712137765.